Early Windsor, Delbard Estivale & Worcester Pearmain...
It must be said that the theme of this week’s publication is dominated somewhat by the arrival of three new season English-grown Apple varieties. In no particular order of preference, let us start first by discussing the Early Windsor (pictured). This apple shares many of the same characteristics as Discovery (an early-season variety of English apple about which I spoke at length when they first arrived a few weeks back). Slightly smaller and rounder in stature than Discovery, they were originally developed in Germany during the 1930s under the name Alkmene and are a cross between Cox’s Orange Pippin and a variety called Duchess of Oldenberg. They're juicy, robust and quite acidic, but with sweet, aromatic skins whose fragrance, like Discovery, is vaguely reminiscent of strawberry. Our second arrival goes by the name of Delbard Estivale, which are conical in shape and can typically grow to the size of a small asteroid. Originally a French cultivar, these rather beautiful looking fruits possess golden-green skins blushed with a combination of red stripes and flecks. White-fleshed and crunchy, their flavour is best described as predominantly sweet, but with slight traces of acidity. An ideal fruit-bowl fruit, they are, though, quite delicate and should be handled with care - but they do tend to retain their crunchiness for longer compared to their early season counterparts. Lastly, but by no means leastly, we have Worcester Pearmain which, as the name suggests, originated in the county bearing its name and was first cultivated in 1874. It’s of a medium size and conical and only grown commercially on a relatively small scale – so it’s unlikely you’ll have too many opportunities to sample them elsewhere. Sweetish and fairly fragrant, they possess a smooth skin with a deep crimson flush and crisp, juicy flesh. Further new arrivals expected within the next week or so are likely to be Cox’s and Egremont Russett – but I’ll speak more of them nearer the time.
It's almost a certainty that by the time you read this European Cherries will have finished, leaving North American crops as your only alternative - but which, being air-freighted in, will be eye-wateringly expensive. The upside is that they’re usually quite beautiful to look at and extremely flavoursome.
English Mixed Coloured Chantenay Carrots, as well as English Piccolo Parsnips have arrived in the market. I won't dwell on the Chantenays (except to say that their colours consist of Orange, Yellow and Purple). Piccolo Parsnips, which are often mistakenly described as baby parsnips, when they are in fact a separate, fully-grown cultivar in their own right. Being very slender, they are suitable for roasting whole without the need to peel them or remove the central core, which tends to be more succulent and less woody than regular-sized parsnip.
The first of the English Mixed Winter Squashes have arrived. Tah-dah! Each 10kg compilation might vary slightly over the coming weeks depending on the availability of individual examples at any given time, but the selection pictured is pretty much typical of what you might expect most of the time, and is likely to include (in varying combinations) the likes of Acorn, Gem, Crown Prince, Onion Squash and Spaghetti Squash. Purely as an arrangement in itself, I’m sure you'll agree they present a rather impressive array of sizes, colours and profiles that would make an eye-catching counter display. However, each one has a culinary as well as decorative reason for being included in the mix, inasmuch as they are all edible and have been chosen to be enjoyed equally for just such a purpose.
Fruit of the Week
Turkish Black Figs
Continue To Be Advised: The arrival of New Crop English Carrots means being mindful of the fact that at this early stage their skins will be underdeveloped and prone to blemishing -usually in the form of black spots. They’re also liable to “go-off” more quickly. Our advice therefore remains, which is to avoid overstocking.
Ongoing Alert: Although there seems to be more English Radicchio in the market of late (and of very good quality, I might add), at the time of writing it nevertheless remains in short supply.
Ongoing Alert: Although the quality of Tenderstem Broccoli has greatly improved since being affected by the mini heatwave in early August, it is nevertheless still suffering shortages. English Purple Sprouting Broccoli has still yet to make a breakthrough.
Ongoing Alert: The availability of Pomegranates remains a bit tight.
Ongoing Alert: Avocados are still experiencing market shortages and high prices as a consequence.
Ongoing Alert: White Washed Ware Potatoes are still not great as we await the arrival of new season crops.
Ongoing Alert: The price of Sweet Potatoes, remains very high, but their quality has improved.
Ongoing Alert: Both Round and Banana Shallots remain expensive.
As mentioned overleaf, European Cherries are likely to have finished by the time you read this.
Red Forelle Pears are no longer available in the market.
At the time of writing, the market availability of Paw Paw is a bit tight.
Fresh Broad Beans are “hard work” at present, according to our market buyer.
Potted Herbs are very difficult to come by at present, which is largely due to high prices in the Netherlands, from where most of them are imported.